So you think part of the Republican Party is a bunch of city living martini drinking cigar smoking elitist country club snobs who would rather summer in the South of France than here in the good ol’ USA? So do I, and I’m glad to be one of the elitist snobs. But I realize I’m not the base. More’s the pity.
At any rate, if you disdain that sort of thing above you are not alone. There are millions in the Republican Party, the majority in the party, the base, who think just like you do. However, don’t think your resentment is original. The RINO battle has been going on for over a century, as different establishments and insurgencies have tried to claim the mantle of true Republican versus RINO. It’s usually been the populists versus the establishment.
Former Republican almost two term president Teddy Roosevelt bolted the Republicans in 1912 in a populist revolt. He formed the Bull Moose Party, split the massive Republican vote, and elected the worst presidential in the history of the United States, Woodrow Wilson. Teddy’s ego knew no bounds. For it, the nation suffered.
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1964 was an exception, as the insurgents were not populists, but conservative intellectuals. It was glorious. Bill Buckley and the National Review crowd got Senator Barry Goldwater nominated. The establishment thought no one could beat LBJ in 1964, so they let Goldwater have the nod then sat on their hands in November. Goldwater got creamed in a massive blowout. However, his campaign led the way to Reagan and 1980.
After Reagan and Bush the First’s election in 1988, the populists were growing restless. Reagan was a conservative hero, but Bush governed from the ultraestablishment squishy middle. In 1992, in a precursor to the Trump populist coup, media maven Pat Buchanan ran and beat Bush in New Hampshire. If Buchanan would have had Trump’s star power he might have seized the nomination and the party, as Trump did. But he floundered. Much like Goldwater to Reagan, Buchanan was Trump’s John the Baptist.
And we come to today and the truly remarkable Trump phenomenon. The man led a great administration, one of the best in American history. But he looked for fights and created turmoil at times when a more judicious attitude would have been better for the party and America because it would have aided in his reelection. Now he have a hard Left administration nominally run by a senile hack. The loss, as losses do, launched a lot of Republican soul searching and recriminations.
The pros and the establishment blame Trump’s bluster. The base and the populist faction love the former president’s take no prisoners pugilism and beg for more. In the early summer of 2021 we can say they are likely to get their wish, as Trump is the fave for 2024. But an awful lot can happen in three years, an awful lot.
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